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14th Century Braies

Price:: $46.95

 

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Braies Sizes:

 

 

 

 

  • Based on contemporary artwork
  • No visible machine stitching with the exception of lace holes and hidden waistband
  • Made in heavyweight 100% Linen
  • Cut very full and long enough to keep braies tucked into chauses
  • All interior seams finished
  • Price: $46.95

About our Braies and Chauses 

 

For the majority of the Middle Ages, the idea of “trousers” was simply unknown. Rather, men (and possibly women) of all classes wore a pair of baggy drawers under their normal clothing. Laced to these braies was a pair of tight-fitting hose or chauses to cover the legs. Normally made of linen or wool, they are best cut “on the bias” (diagonal) across the warp and weft to increase their elasticity. While some hose stopped at the ankle, others incorporated feet, and some even had leather soles stitched on to take the place of shoes. These chauses were often further secured beneath the knee with a simple fabric or leather garter. While braies are always depicted as being white, chauses came in a variety of colors.

Our braies are based on surviving historical artwork. Like many other elements of clothing, braies went through some substantial evolution in the late Middle Ages. Artwork from the 13th and early 14th centuries depict massive, voluminous shorts, while by the 15th century, these had been reduced to the medieval equivalent of briefs. Our braies depict a moment in time in this evolution. Made of a stout linen, they are mid-thigh length and full, but trim enough to avoid causing bunching or unseemly lines and bulges when worn under a cotte, cotehardie or gown. Placing the lacing point for the chauses at the drawstring allows them to pull against the hips, reducing the drag on the braies, making sure your pants stay up when you want them to. A final advantage to historical underwear that is often overlooked is comfort. The relaxed fit of the braies is of great comfort when lounging around camp, and in hot weather, the chauses can be rolled down and worn around the ankles, for the medieval equivalent of shorts.

How to point your Braies and Chauses 


Our braies are designed to have the chause pointed to the drawstring at the waist rather than the fabric of the braies themselves. This method puts less stress on the the linen of the braies as well as lessening the pull of the chause points on the top of the braies which tends to drag the waist down toward the hips. It also gives you complete flexibility on how high or low you can point you chauses to your braies. When you first get your braies you will need to adjust the waistband to your liking as well as the part of the drawstring which you will use to point the chauses to.


To adjust your braies and chauses: Put on your braies and tighten the drawstring to the point where it feels comfortable on your waist and the fabric at the waist is distributed evenly on all sides, tie it loosely leaving a little slack. Use the slits at the side of the waistband to pull out a portion of the drawstring on each side - this will pull some of the drawstring from the center to the sides, let that happen. Once you've adjusted it so that you have a small loop at each side and it fits comfortably on your waist, you can tie the drawstring in a tighter knot in front. Tie a knot at the base of each loop you've pulled out to keep the loop from retreating back into the waistband. These are the loops you use to tie your chause points to. You can point your chauses to this loop with either a bow or a knot (its show with a bow in the sketch). The loop extending from the braies can be made longer for extra length in the fit of your chauses, or left short for higher fitted chauses. Lastly, once you have the braies waist fitting well, you can trim the extra long drawstring to a desirable length (being sure that you leave enough length to stop the drawstring from being lost in the waistband during washing) and finish the ends with knots to keep it from fraying.

 

Photo Gallery 

 

 


Three views of our 14th century Braies, center image shown worn with our Linen Chauses

 

Size Chart 

 

Size Recommended Waist Measurements Ungathered Waist Maximum Thigh Measurement Length
Small up to 44" / 112cm (or for a slimmer fit) 48" / 122cm 24" / 61cm 22" / 56cm
Medium over 44" / 112cm up to 56" / 142cm (or for a looser fit) 60" / 152cm 24" / 61cm 23" / 58cm
Large over 48" / 122cm to 74" / 188cm (or for the fullest fit - that is, very gathered at the waist look) 78" / 198cm 30" / 76cm 26" / 66cm

Note: Sizing on our Braies is very general because they are such loose fitting garments. In general terms we recommend Small for up to a 44" waist, Medium for up to a 56" waist and for those who prefer a looser fit in the waist. In general, the looser, larger fit is better for earlier portrayals while braies get smaller and more fitted toward the turn of the 15th c. The Large usually works better for those with a 48" waist and above and for larger thigh circumference. Both the Medium and the Large work well for those who like the very full look, as it is represented in some earlier medieval artwork. All sizes are generously cut in the length so they stay tucked into chauses.

 

Our Design 

 

 

Historical Inspirations 

 

Drawing after a detail from the Maciejowski Bible circa 1250 Pierpont Morgan Library New York City, USA   Drawing after the Album of Villard de Honnecourt circa 13th c. Bibliotheque National Paris, France
Drawing after the Maciejowski Bible circa 1250 Pierpont Morgan Library New York City, USA Drawing after ‘Le Parement de Narbonne’ circa 1375 Drawing from a details of Grandes Heures de Rohan circa 1415 Bibliotheque National Paris, France
Drawing after an illuminated manuscript circa 14th c. Roy. MS.16 Gvii in the British Museum, London, England   Drawing after an Hungarian illuminated chronicle fol.41 circa 1360 in the National Széchényi Library, Budapest, Hungary

 

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